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Jim Curtin will return as head coach in 2018

Philadelphia Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart “very pleased” with Curtin’s progress

MLS: Orlando City SC at Philadelphia Union Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Curtin will be returning for a fifth season as head coach of the Philadelphia Union in 2018, Sporting Director Earnie Stewart announced on Wednesday.

“I think he’s a big part of this foundation that we’ve laid down,” Stewart said. “When we talk about progress, the system based approach and the stability of a good organization, continuity is very important.”

The third head coach in club history, Curtin was promoted to the role in June 2014 after John Hackworth was fired and had the interim tag lifted ahead of the 2015 season.

He became the winningest coach in club history with a win over New York City FC in April 2016 and has twice led the team to the final of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. But his teams have made the playoffs just once in 2016 and his career record is an underwhelming 39-51-30.

“I’m grateful and I’m still very confident in the roster that we have, the players that we have and the flexibility that we have going into the offseason,” Curtin said. “The focus now is on 2018. Both Earnie and I want to win more than anybody.”

Curtin credited Earnie for sticking with him during the “hardest moment” of his career earlier this season when the team was winless through the first eight games of the season.

“There’s very few people you can trust and Earnie is a guy I can trust and believe in,” Curtin said. “He saw more than just results, he saw a team that stuck together and continued to fight.”

An Oreland, Pennsylvania, native, Curtin starred at Villanova as a defender and went on to play 10 seasons in Major League Soccer with Chicago Fire and Chivas USA through 2009. He joined the Union coaching staff as an assistant under John Hackworth in 2012 after coaching in the Union’s youth system in its pre-U.S. Soccer Development Academy era.